After Bryce Harper announced he would be joining the Philadelphia Phillies this season, ticket sales soared to new heights, breaking a record for the team.
The Phillies gave Harper a 13-year contract last week, which is the largest deal in baseball history, rounding out at $330 million. According to John Weber, the team’s senior vice president of ticket operations, the Phillies sold about 100,000 tickets within 24 hours. His introduction drove a 5,000 percent increase in sales compared to the same day last year, Front Office Sports reports.
“It was awesome,” Weber told Philly.com. “We’ve never sold that many tickets in a single day.”
As of earlier this week, Forbes reported that it’s possible the Phillies sold approximately 300,000 tickets, which means sales could be somewhere between $6 and $7 million already. If sales continue to climb, Harper’s $10 million 2019 base salary could be covered by ticket sales.
In addition to tickets, Harper is also earning attention with merchandise sales. Although figures were not provided, his No. 3 jersey broke the 24-hour sales record for a jersey launch in any sport, according to Fanatics, which runs the Phillies’ online store.
Compared to other high-profile free-agent signings, the sales were overwhelming, Weber said. The last time the team experienced this kind of excitement was when they signed Jim Thome in 2002, Weber explained, but even then, they had four and a half months to sell tickets, and “didn’t sell close to 100,000 tickets the first day.” Additionally, the Phillies sold a decent amount of tickets when the team resigned pitcher Cliff Lee in 2010, racking in between 60,000 and 70,000 tickets.
Harper has also been making headlines this week for lobbying for superstar Mike Trout to join the franchise in 2021, which may be a violation of Major League Baseball’s tampering rule. He is expected to make his spring training debut this Saturday when the team faces the Blue Jays.